Category Archives: LIFE

……did I say thank you yet?


This weekend started with a surprise whisking away for a few days of R&R, to celebrate and take a moment to acknowledge a great accomplishment, two kids got married on this day forty years ago( yeah, that’s forty!!) and they are aware of what a blessing that is.

Where do ya go for such a tribute? Sometimes you have to go where you have never been! Perfect…..let’s go see where Elvis was born! More southern what could be better… and the glorious Natchez Trace is a beautiful way to travel into Mississippi.

We get the two and a half hours( gotta love short driving trips) check in and hit a wonderful Mexican Restaurant… so fresh and good! If you are ever there go!

….then, nothing better than a visit to the birthplace of The king! Little k, not the big K! You can’t get to Bethlehem in 2.5hrs, so we saw the little k…. Elvis! His little home he was born and his little church he attended and a huge gift shop!

A beautiful drive around the metropolis of Tupelo then on to a little shopping … score…. And because I’m old now a little nap to recharge… then off to a nice dinner and plan for the next day…..off to Oxford, MS! But first…. Who wants to go to the ZOO? We do! Probably the most fun of all( almost) unless you are me and my husband of 40 yrs thinks it’s funny to roll down the window when a huge frightening Camel comes to see if I have food! It was funny and true to form but scared the you know what out of me.. but a drive in zoo is really cool.

This was a fun detour before Oxford.. which was not only so fun and my preacherman never laughed so hard! We sure missed our kids especially our Ellie! But on to the cool little town around Ole Miss…, for which when we got there it was covered up with people.., walking .. tons of them toward the square.. where I love to look at.. we landed smack dab in a once a year Arts festival! But we forged through to drive around Ole Miss, wow that would be a cool school to attend! Southern towns and colleges are just gorgeous! Once we maneuvered our way out of the sea of people we looked for lunch and wandered upon a terrific pizza place! Best pizza since our beloved Big Eds in East Tn, and my favorite Sir Pizza in Murfreesboro,TN… it was soooo good. Go there if you are ever in Oxford, MS.

Next up was a tour of William Faulkner’s home-Rowan Oak ( He is the Pulitzer Prize winning Southern Author) Wowie! I loved it! I loved reading him, the house was old Antebellum and super cool. I may have stolen a few rocks (small) for remembering and two magnolia leaves to press… a very interesting place full of all the good feels, my preacherman had been there during a two weeks college tour he made of the Deep South so it was extra cool.

So on to the rest of our day, seeing the sights to see, my patient preacherman taking turns and twists wherever I wanted to go, I love big old houses, I think we have prettier ones here in Tennessee!FYI! Our evening was sweet, good food and even better company. I would be hard pressed to have better company. He spoiled me, was patient and only wanted to love me. If anyone wants to know why we have such a long marriage? Here’s your answer…. He only wants to love me, and I him. Jesus is on the center and we are normal. We aren’t infallible… we have our moments but at our core is the everlasting love that knows no fear. We will not be moved… and we look forward to many more years of just cruising around, seeing what to see. We are blessed and we know it. Happy Anniversary my sweet man. I know how lucky I am!

A Life Well Lived


To say that someone got their money’s worth is an understatement when it comes to my mother-in-law. There has never been a woman more motivated or curious in life as her. The whole concept of “let’s chill!” was never in her wheelhouse. She “got her money’s worth” out of the life she lived, and at age ninety-two, she remained vigilant until the end.

We were fortunate to have the last four months with her in our home (not without a battle mind you , it only took us nine years to convince her to come). She knew when she was ready, she would come. And near the end of December 2020, she was finally willing to move in with us. We were blessed to be able to minister to her with love and compassion, as she taught us about life and death, which is still a great mystery to me (the death part, I mean). As I sat there watching her only son cry and pray, sing and worship, even during his loss, and her only granddaughter take such sweet care of her, I ponder this great mystery. It’s just a faint breath between the two – life and death, earth and heaven – but it gives me hope to know we will meet again.

We spoke words of comfort, and thankfulness, appreciative of all the lessons she taught us. I’m reminded of those last moments I was with my own Mom, nothing more precious. Watching my husband’s heart full of sadness is harder. He was a fine son, and he did his best to honor her, which he did. I feel confident when I’m at that point he will love me with as much warmth and kindness as he did his Mom.

I am honored to love a man with so much sweetness in his heart. He treasured his parents so much, and he was the best son. He gave honor to his parents, and to the Lord, for them adopting him. Now for a season, like me, he is parentless. But he is not alone; we have each other and we have Jesus. I’m good with that.

His Mom was a world traveler (seriously, she was), from Paris to Kenya, and all parts inbetween. She was an amazing quilter, embroider, and crafter. She was a good cook. She taught me the whole Thanksgiving meal, which was the first meal I had eaten with her. I was impressed! The best Angel biscuits, Swiss steak, okra and coconut cake. All my favorites! And most of all, she had the gift of hospitality. One of the fruit of the Spirit, by the way, that has been lost in the shuffle these days. She taught me that, too, but way better than me. Never a person who entered the doors of her church that did not get an invitation to her home…that day even… what?! Yes, she had the immeasurable gift to welcome strangers, and maybe even angels unaware? She is known for her commitment for people to be wanted and cared for. Her heart was for world missions, and she worked hard to support missionaries near and far. She had them to her home for meals or to stay over for the night. All guest preachers who passed through, as well as the random people she met along the way, sat around her table. Endurance was her middle name. This, all while raising two children and working as an educator to grammar school-age-kids for forty-two years! (what?) Yes, she was a go getter. She told me that she nearly died as a baby, and only after they removed her tonsils did she even start to gain normal weight. Yet she forged on and never stopped. She knew life was but just a vapor and she wanted to live the best she could.

I write this in honor of her, thanking her for the impact she had on my life. She was one of the first to plant the seed of Jesus in my mind and eventually to my heart. She was a good mother-in-law to me. And she gave a good man to love me. I pray that her influence lives on through her grandchildren and great grandchildren. If you knew her, you can appreciate the remarkably strong, vibrant woman she was – even when it wasn’t cool for us girls to be so independent. She ran that pop stand and told you your job too. She was invincible! But she always honored her husband and her Lord. She was reverent to what deserved to have reverence. Her joy was in people. She was filled with that joy until the end.

Now she is home, with her beloved Jesus, husband and the rest of her people. I’m sure she will have something to add to that big supper we all will have someday. She will at least help get it organized! God Bless her heart.

Time flies…… a good day for a wedding!


Way back when I was just a little girl, time was slow, really slow and steady. The thirty plus days between Thanksgiving  until Christmas were more like thirty months  and if the school year was any longer and summer break was any shorter then we would be in school full time! This is from the perspective of a child which I have found is the exact opposite when you become….middle aged. That being said, when the children that you watch be born and grow up, that are not your own seem to leap to adulthood in like a week, it makes one painfully aware that time does not stand still…it do fly!

This weekend we are a part of a wedding back in East Tennessee, the preacherman will unite in marriage a grown man and  a little girl who was just a little runt a few years back! How did this happen! I blinked. She is also a twin….a twin that although I have known them from birth…I still call…twins, as in not their real names…..because lets be real, they are twins and for the life of me I could never tell you which was which…ever…..! I mean put name tags on them, dress them differently it did not matter, I never really knew. This is not for lack of trying I was around them all the time. Their Dad is my husbands best friend and his wife is my best friend, we have a history yet I was lost. I did try, my kids knew which was which but not me.

They were always the twins, scary little mystery girls that I was never sure about what they were up to. Twins are a special secret club, they have a language…a underlying knowing that is a little creepy. I never felt like I could ever get the upper hand, even me an adult, I felt as if those two heads put together would always out smart me….and I was right! I have spent a lot of time with them in many situations and they were equipped with this sly grin that reminded me to be on my guard. My own sweet little daughter was one of their dear little friends…she always knew which was which….and she always came home a little wiser, sitting under the tutelage of these two masterminds. They have  extra jolt of energy and mischief than other kids, always up for fun and anything that is exciting.

They are for sure a rare breed and as time does fly, they are all grown up. One of them, Amber has already been in the Army and served our Country (thank you for your service Amber!) and now finished school and knocking it out of the park with a great career! The other one, Aubrey is  walking down the aisle tomorrow, she also has finished school and began her own successful career, raising a beautiful little boy and has found her one true love. This little girl has before our very eyes…grown up, along with her twin and her oldest sister, Ariel and her little brother, Lee. The original Ellis brood. There is a baby brother, thrown in for good measure, the extra blessing, Jeremy. I think they had to “one-up” us, WE…. Praise the Lord stopped with four kids!

These “kids” are making lives for themselves, I am proud of them and the job their Dad and Cheryl did with them…..they say it takes a village to raise kids these days, I would like to think that I had a tiny piece of influence…maybe. If nothing else I hope they see Gods grace and commitment to Him which is the only way to survive the flying of Time and the ups and downs of marriage especially. Congratulations Sweet Aubrey on the day of your marriage ceremony and I pray for many years of love and laughter. They are equal parts that are needed….but that is how you were raised so I’m not worried. Best wishes on your special day, Aubs….or is it Amber?

Much love from all of Us “indoor people”who love you!

 

 

Macklemore….what?


Over the past few months I have been entertained by an artist that would not be my usual choice. Let me preference this by saying I also have a seventeen year old so this was my avenue of introductiImageon to Sir Macklemore.

Beside the fact his music, along with Ryan Lewis, is some of the most catchy of tunes and to remember my Dick Clark Band Stand Days(ugh, I am soooo old) I would say it is easy to dance to also. That is if I could….ugh again! Back to the point, this music is very fun and easy to smile to. Mind you, I hear the radio versions usually which are minus the “expletives” thank you very much, not so much wincing! That being said, I had discerned there is more to this man, and I was right.

English: Publicity photo of Dick Clark from hi...
English: Publicity photo of Dick Clark from his ABC radio show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His independent thinking and hard work is evident in his over the top yet mind stirring lyrics and his inate charisma. The moral of the story, so to speak, is what draws me in. The next thing that got me was while at my local Kroger, I spied a copy of Rolling Stone Magazine for which our young artist was the cover. On further skimming of article my heart sank. I felt his

Kroger logo
Kroger logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

pain and it is a familiar story. This mom could relate.

mack cover

This kid has been there…in the real world…..he has earned his stripes and quick to acknowledge his need for help along the way. He is independent and amazingly crisp in his view of the world he lives but he also is only one wrong step way from destruction and knows it. I find this makes me love him even more, in the son way I mean, as the mother of four I know the life on the mean streets is tempting and always ready to welcome a lost soul.

When I read about a person who has and is overcoming their destructive “bents” I am encouraged, even enamored by his grit. I know how hard it is and I do not know if his strength is God Centered or not. I assume there had been some influence since he was raised Catholic, maybe a inner peace that God is there to help. I don’t know nor is it my place to judge. He was raised with a lot of diversity in his life and in saying this I am reminded of songs by one of my favorite “Christian artistsDC Talk (Toby Mack)….. for which my kids loved way back when, as well as I did too. They were standing for God and equality and diversity and every one of us allowing people to find their way. God is working on me and everyone else, none of us are at the same place at the same time….until we get to heaven!

My admiration for this young man may seem silly, I am not his demographic but I am the mother of his peers and I am impressed with his rise and fall and rise again, with his weaknesses as well as his strengths and most of all with his decisions to go forward, clean, free from the things that pull him away from his calling……. Speaking truth to a generation who so badly yearns for it. I respect his love for people, same or otherwise and his confidence that we are all in this together and we might as well get along.

Kudos, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, at least for giving us/we/the thrift store shoppers clout! Love it!!

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…”how do you solve a problem like….”


One of my husbands, (yes, I am ratting him out!)… all time favorite movies is The Sound of Music!

The Sound of Music (film)
The Sound of Music (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For all the years I have known him, he has rallied all the kids around to watch it …ONCE AGAIN! at Easter time, only to be compared to the ritual of watching The Ten Commandments, (“…so let it be written, so let it be done!”). You have to be impressed with his loyalty and dedication! But, in the Sound of Music there are many, many songs to sing with (for which we(HE! DOES MOSTLY)do and lately without the whole family only  because the kids have gotten older and they choose not to endure our festivities….spoil sports!

Movie poster of The Ten Commandments.
Movie poster of The Ten Commandments. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favorite songs is…..How do you solve a problem like Maria…lalala! This brings me to my point in writing today…(ya knew I would get there eventually, right?) And it is a stretch so hang in there….but….this song is one that reminds me of my beautiful Bethany. Tomorrow is her birthday and because I enjoy writing about my kids if only to completely humiliate them…..(paybacks rule!) here I am once again attempting to let her know how important she is to me.

Back to the song…it is about this NUN who is just a little too human for the rest of the NUNS which makes her perfect for God….. if you ask me. She is always getting into a pickle and causing a ruckus….full of opinions and speaking her peace! So goes part of the song…….

…..When I’m with her I’m confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!

She’d outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She’s a riddle! She’s a child!
She’s a headache! She’s an angel!
She’s a girl!

Yep, that about explains it all! My Bethany is all that and more…I prayed earnestly for her, picked her out and described her to GOD. HE picks this one time to answer my prayer…exactly! He is cute like that…..and awesome and she is my only girl and for that she had to be something special!

Her birthdays come every year, like clock work, like us all and she would sell her soul for a white cake and white icing-STORE BOUGHT CAKE….for which is the worst ….I say…wedding cake kind is her fav! I have attempted to make my kids their cakes ,but the love is lost on this girlie….so I will give in and succumb to my loss of tradition…..she is just that worth it! No matter what goofiness or literal pain in the heart she can be, I adore this kid.

And so I have to respond with these lines from the song:

……Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?(BETHANY)
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

She is the heart of my heart and so much like me I feel sorry for her…..she has grown to side with her daddy WAY TOO MUCH which is disturbing when I am odd man out but never a day goes by that I don’t praise the Lord for her and her spirit. She keeps me praying and I know that her future is HUGE with all kinds of exciting twists and turns.

20120228-193313.jpg
….then (my favorite pic!)

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…now! (what a doll!)

Happy Birthday my sweet Bethany Rose!….a problem I will never solve because like Maria, even if those strict NUNS acted like they were mad…they loved her and like Maria, my Bethany  is a joy. You are never a problem and without you I would be lost….

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This is LIFE!


Romantic Heart form Love Seeds
Romantic Heart form Love Seeds (Photo credit: epSos.de)

 

In honor of the…(because February is boring so lets make up a holiday), …..special day called Valentines Day, I must take a minute to say, the heart is a fragile yet quizzical thing. A very needed organ for the body, no doubt but, within all the blood flow and reason we breath in and out, there is a mystery.

 

In our lives there are millions of decisions we make…many little choices which change the future of our paths. We make split second decisions all of which create our lives as a whole but, also bring about good and bad. Why is all this left up to us?

 

Is there really a master plan or even a Master who is directing the orchestra of lives, or are we blowing willie-nillie out here without any sense of whats to happen next? Lately I have been confronted with these questions. I had thought I had it all figured out. What a shock to see I have really blown it.

 

Pix Pix Pick Up Sticks & Pixie Pic Up Stixs
Pix Pix Pick Up Sticks & Pixie Pic Up Stixs (Photo credit: Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka

 

It reminds me  of the pixie sticks that I played daily as a kid. No matter how hard I try to gently drop them down so they will not fall all mangled up….they still do. Then one by one…slowly and gently I begin to pick each one up hoping against hope I will not disturb the others.

 

And so life goes….all mangled up. As hard as I try those sticks just get all twisted up in each other…this is life. No matter how we try to stay clear of trouble, free from all the turmoil from all the other sticks, that red one just will not stay off the blue one…some days are just that way.

 

A thousand little choices we make that can change the outcome of our lives and the lives of others. I wish I could see the future, or maybe not. This continual struggle is more than one heart can endure most days. But endure we must….this sick joke called life.

 

The Bible reads….in Mark 9:24…”I believe help my unbelief” says the father with the boy who had been sick his whole life. Now that is a story I can relate to. Maybe not an “official” sickness but, a life of torment all the same….Jesus had compassion on this child and as every mother and father through the years has prayed for their own kids…we all believe with I am sure an element of unbelief.

 

When a heart is broken it is hard to rebuild…..but even so…Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!

 

What causes this deficit? What choice was made way back before all this? Or did anything….choices, free will….AUGH!!! My mind swirls even trying to understand it all.

 

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Life Dates


In my life of canvases and paint I usually really mess up a few and it can not be seen even by my family….as is this day…and in my need to cover up a horrible sight I ended up painting in a new direction for me…a collage of sorts with paint.

I love collages, especially word ones…I make a few from time to time…but I ended up painting one this time…for which as a painter, doing lettering is a bit dicey! But, here it is…all my family life dates, our marriage and birth dates and names…..ENJOY!!!!DSCN0664DSCN0663

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january 2nd…already failed!


Welcome new year...oh how I loathe YOU.…..the guilt has already started…..yep, I am already late on my Bible reading program, remembered it tonight at church ……at prayer service……ugh….I am a failure already! Okay,…… get caught up tonite, yep…..that is the plan….the mornings are for Old Testament….evenings are for the New Testament….Matthew 1 and 2 (…all the genealogy of Jesus -yada yada…….and the Christmas story, etc. which feel redundant right about now!) and catches me up thru today January 2…whew! Now what I have left Genesis 1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 respectively. So the Creation…Adam and Eve being totally ignorant which cuts all of us out of Eden…ugh! Then the first recorded murder….way to go guys! and all the way up to Noah. Really had a big start first people of the earth…way to GO! Screwed it up for the rest of us.

I suppose it is smart to read Old then New since the old makes me want to scream aloud…HEY!!! Knuckleheads…you HAD IT MADE!!!! So when I read the NEW it makes it all go down a little better, GOD intervened and gave us an out…..and this could not be kinder of him. Don’t you know he was screaming too? Like any “parent” he probably felt the struggles……if he can feel pain, he was sorry for us I imagine. It is so hard to wait and watch…..I know this too well.

So, on the second day of the new year I was already behind in more ways then one…along with the most important one that feeds my soul, I am behind on the walking commitment. Once again, I think in my heart...I WILL DO IT.…I even have had a gentle (she lies!) reminder yesterday. I have a family member who is the same age as my daughter that I just adore. She has struggles with walking; she has lived with a frustrating physical impediment since birth. No person has ever blessed so many through her struggles, actually, because of her FAITH in GOD even though she struggles. Her prayers are straight from God, her spirit is strong although her body frail. Her life is a testimony to her faith and the faith of her parents and sister.

I had posted a goofy New Years Resolutions post on Facebook concerning weight loss—-(FBAnyone been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions? Me? Thinking about….. doing something about……considering the options……for my ginormous full figured……let’s just say…….personality! (left myself an out there…did ya catch that?) OK your turn……..go!)…….and my precious cousin privately messaged me  and while I was playing cards with my adult kids and and my husband was in the room also….I began to read aloud her message to me…..YOU COULD HEAR A PIN DROP!!!

AUGH!!!!! Dead men sitting…..she slayed us! The room filled with conviction as she explains how she has worked on being able to walk about 20 minutes a day (she walks in her neighborhood…with a walker…cold/hot weather….everyday!) and she would love to work up to a 5K…!!!!! OH MY LORD! Here I sit…like a slobbbbbb! Too lazy to even walk in the next room to get my other pair of glasses so I ask one of the kids to……I want to stab my eyeballs out….I am un-clean!!!!! We ALL gave an unbearable gasp….then the kids yell…oh great, thanks! They love our precious cousin, they felt the pain I was feeling…we were all guilty…me being the worse(in my mind!). This was in no way her mission…that is not her way, BUT it just happened….I love that young lady and have had God speak to me several times through her.

So to update: Forgot to read my daily Bible verses...check! Avoided taking even a walk to the mailbox…check! and that was just yesterday…January 1st!!! Today I am reminded….although I have had two salads…I still have not cut out the white foods! The doctor said…”if it’s white don’t bite!”…crash and burned…Still eat like a pig?……check! So to bring it all home….on January 2nd…two days into the New Year…..I am already a failure…..

I can do this I tell myself…..I have read the Bible in a year before…actually sooner….I feel confident in that one. I am a preachers wife don’tcha know….perfect and all…PLEASE!!! And a long time ago…like 20 flippin’ years ago (Good Lord, I am so ashamed!) I was a walker…took the kids to school and went to walk at the Baptist Churches Gym with all the “old folks” for which I am one now…I did enjoy walking….. now LAZY though; and then eating right…well….not so confident there. Believe it or not…I have never dieted! Ok I take that back, if you know me it is not hard to believe it….my meaning is I never really had to way back when….B.H. (before Hysterectomy!) I carried a bit too much weight but not in this extreme….I am a reality program! I expect TLC to call any day now!

SO there you have it….I have cut myself open….bleeding and afraid….what to do next? Go to bed, get up in the morning, take my boy to school and try harder. Looking for anyone who struggles also. Feel free to join me in my efforts. Many people have so much to struggle with, I am ridiculous to even compare myself….my precious cousin for one, but she is always smiling. I keep a picture of her on my computer…walking to remind me to get off my BEHIND and make something of myself…..

Tomorrow I get to read about Genesis 7,8,9..the flood, Noah and rainbows and Matthews story of John the Baptist…gotta love that guy! Yes, I peeked ahead…it is so good I can’t wait!!!

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Good Advice


Listen to Jesus and do what he says!

Probably the best plan I have ever heard…thanks preacherman!

(a pure minimalist point of view, of course!)…it works though!

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I just want to be happy


How many times have I said …”I just want to be happy”…..in my head? Even though I know this is a futile thought…even silly, it is still there…floating around…like a albatross around my neck. My brain knows that being happy  is a relevant term, one that is a mind-set not a way of life. My spirit knows that it rains on the just and the unjust…(its in the Bible….for pete’s sake!)) as well as living proof all around me.

 

Who do I think I am to ask for happy? I can throw a rock and hit some other soul that would and has given their very lives for a moment with all their legs or hands or even someone they love back with them. The conviction runs rampant through my heart…I know I am behaving badly here. But today I am there….at one of those points of just sadness…..feeling all alone in the middle of a crowd.

 

What a loser….here comes the self-deprecation, I am good at that one…..too good. Wallowing

Iconic screen shot from the movie It's a Wonde...
Iconic screen shot from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

is one of my specialties also…along with tears and fear. The tiredness of it all is palatable…groaning inside me, my heart aches. Lord give me that sign….the George Bailey…..the good ole Hail Mary pass. The reminder that no matter how hard life gets….it is still better than the alternative…never being born at all.

 

With Christmas upon me, I am finding it hard to be happy. With the obvious loss

of family members and the absence of others, the attempt to be cheerful is a broken down cliché. But I do know that thankfully I will not always be happy….everyday of my life. Actually that would be frustrating and positively obnoxious to anyone around me. I would hate me!!

 

One thing I do know for sure is that JOY is the goal…along with PEACE and most of all HOPE. I do have HOPE…..and just like George Bailey from “It’s A Wonderful Life, I too am full of hope that I know will get me thru these rough patches in life. Although my heart remains heavy, my spirit can rest in the knowledge that….”with God all things are possible!”..Matthew 19:26 and just like the virgin Mary found out so many years ago, each of our lives are here for a purpose….for such a time as this, Esther 4:14.

 

The LOVE of God is everlasting and the happy follows and flows like a river…sometimes there are rocks and a wood chuck builds a dam or it is a hot year and it nearly dries up…these are the times and seasons for us all to endure and be happy in the wisdom of those who have come before us. Had they been as whinny as me, nothing would have ever gotten finished. So I say with all gratitude, thanks be to GOD for my life and I will attempt to live with more joy…even when I don’t wanna!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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